0

Review: The Weight of Souls by Byrony Pearce

TheWeightOfSouls-144dpi

 

The Weight of Souls by Byrony Pearce (Strange Chemistry, 2013) ..whoa! Big picture! Oops.

Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

I always look out for Strange Chemistry titles, and I was a little surprised to find this nestled in the YA section at my library. I couldn’t resist!

There were many elements of this book that I really liked, but for some reason this book lacked the jazz, the pop, the fizzle that I usually want to feel when reading.

So, What Worked?

Taylor Oh – I liked her character a lot. I enjoyed her way of speaking, her way of being, and her attitude and style. She was cool.

Setting – Yes! A paranormal YA book set in Britain! There was a great sense of ‘Britishness’ in much of this book. The way the characters spoke was familiar to me, and I liked how the author hasn’t tried to make any of that ‘easier’ for a wider audience. I mean, heck, I read more American-based titles than I dare to admit! And as such, I’ve picked up a lot of habits and expressions and ways of writing- it’s nice to be reminded that the Brit way is just fine too.

Concept – I don’t think I’ve seen this before. It’s an area of the supernatural, or paranormal, or demonology/mythology, that I has not been done to death. (HA! Terrible pun..)

Style – I really enjoyed Pearce’s narrative style. It was relaxed, but also had some lovely, almost poetic descriptions that I truly appreciated.

What Didn’t Work?

The Feels – Where were they? I dunno.. I just felt like there needed to be more spark between Taylor and her dead beau. Lols. Now there’s a contradiction! Spark from a dead guy? *sniggers* It was just lacking in the FEEEEELS department.

Inter-character relationships – I felt like these weren’t explored enough. It’s kinda related to the above point because I struggled to understand why Taylor felt so strongly (either way) towards certain characters, and the back story just didn’t support her feelings and actions.

Analepsis – Flashback. Flashback. Flashback. Ancient journal. Flashback… It just didn’t work for me. I found myself skipping these parts, and I don’t think they really added much to the main story or to develop characters. It was felt like filler.

___

I did enjoy this book. I really liked the settings, and the way the teens moved around the city. The ‘V’ club (yeah, go on, have a laugh. I know I chuckled at first.. ‘V’ club. Do you have to have your ‘V’ card to enter? ;) ) was a cool idea.

The ending leaves it all up in the air, really. I mean, it’s a satisfying finish, but then, you learn something massive is about to happen.. But.. I can’t find any mention of a sequel! Gah! I need to know how this will play out!!

I’m giving The Weight of Souls a happy 3.5 out of 5. I liked it a lot, but it just wasn’t zingy enough for how I like ‘em.

 

 

0

Review: Forevermore by Kristy Roberts

20605423

 

Forevermore by Kristy Robinett (expected 8th October 2014 Llwellyn Publications) via NetGalley

“Kristy Robinett has always had helpers in spirit, but when she was thirteen, she met the most fascinating spirit guide of all–Edgar Allan Poe. Forevermore tells the true story of how Edgar Allan Poe helps Kristy heal her soul so that she is able to fulfill her destiny.

Always reluctant to be known as a psychic, Kristy Robinett is shocked when Poe begins helping her discover information about her past lives. Not only does he encourage her to become a writer, but he also teaches her about his life so she is able to help him in his journey as a spirit guide, affirming the comforting fact that we are all given the chance to learn and grow on the other side.”

Seeing the title of this made me act like a small child on a sugar high- I’m such a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe that this seemed like a perfect match! (Working on the assumption that Fenn’s ‘Poe’ was such a perfect match for me, click for review)

I think the main problem I had is that this book isn’t clear from the blurb whether it is fiction or non-fiction. I think, and this an assumption, that it’s a memoir type fiction. I’d never heard of Kristy Robinett before reading this, and now I feel like I know too much! Lols.

It comes down to this- when confronted with medium/psychic, I’m skeptical. Almost to a fault. I will never rule out anything of that nature, but until I see the hard fact, I struggle to accept it. For me, saying that Edgar Allan Poe was her spirit guide was just too far for my brain to believe.

This is part of the problem, I think, with psychic encounters, especially when people ‘regress’ to a past life. Why is it always a great knight from medieval England, or hot damn! I was Stalin’s shoe buffer! Henry VIII’s back-scratcher, married to Ivan the Terrible.. I was Atilla the Hun!

Even though Robinett explains that your ‘spirit guide’ won’t necessarily famous, none of hers are what you’d call ‘regular joes’. There’s no plumber called Jim that has come to be your spirit guide because you’ve got trouble with in your S-bend.

*sigh*

I’m not knocking this book, at all. It’s written well. It’s entertaining. It’s quite fun to read! But fundamentally I had issues with its ideals. There’s no question that the reader must believe in the same things, and that says to me that it’s very much targeted at that specific audience.

Not for me. But still, not half bad. A 3 out of 5.

:)

0

Review: One Tiny Lie by K. A. Tucker

17302495One Tiny Lie by K A Tucker (Atria Books, 2013) – bought this my own gory-damn self :)

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents’ tragic death and Kacey’s self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would…and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows

So I was a little worried that this would be a case of a follow-up being a complete flop (see ‘Walking Disaster’ post..)

Thank CHUFF my worries were unfounded. I think One Tiny Lie is actually better than Ten Tiny Breaths.

There. I said it.

So, What Did I Like?

Livie – She was easier for me to identify with compared to her sister. I mean, I loved Kacey, but not many of us can truly identify with her situation/issues. Livie, on the other hand.. Yeah. This was me at my first stab at university. Minus the hot rowing team. I chose the wrong institution.. :/

Cringe! – Oh my word. There were so many uncomfortable moments where my stomach tied itself in knots and my toes curled and I genuinely felt it. It was truly a case of ‘yep, been there’, and my gosh was it awkward to have to revisit some of my less elegant moments in time..

Ashton – Hello! *waggles eyebrows*

The Wrong Mr Right – I loved that Livie doesn’t just throw herself at the first guy she gets a throb on for (yeah, I actually said that. Get over it.) She does what many of us do.. we settle for the person that seems right.

What Didn’t Work For Me?

Not a lot, really.

Morals – Yeah, there was some part of me still niggly after the first book. Is it a cultural thing? Maybe. I’m actually going to look into this some more (Google beckons..) But there is a distinct disregard for contraception in these books, and in a lot of similar US titles. Wrap it up guys! And girls? Make sure you get it wrapped before it’s stuck anywhere near you! Goddamn!

Tattoos – Whoa! Hello?! Reckless much? I’m very much a ‘tattoos are a piece of art’ kind of gal. I’m not a fan of ‘yeah, I was drunk, isn’t it purty?’ ink.

__

I’m in love with Tucker’s writing style. There’s a perfect balance between self absorption (for the character) and wider considerations. It’s relaxed, but still manages to be mildly poetic at times. It’s atmospheric. It’s fun. It’s balls to the wall crazy! It’s got the feels. It’s just my kind of book.

A high, high, HIGH 5 out of 5 stars for this book.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the third and fourth books. I feel a trip to Amazon Street is necessary right about now.

Anyone else just as in love with this series? Or maybe you didn’t feel it? Talk to me!

 

 

2

Some bookish Questions

55, to be exact. Stick with me, yeh?

Originally from The Literary Lollipop but I spied this over at Luna’s Little Library and knew I had to give it a whirl.

1. Favourite childhood book:
Ooh, I used to love The Pony Club series, earlier than that it was Sophie’s adventures by Dick King-Smith.

What are you reading right now?
At the time of writing this post -

What books do you have on request at the library?
None. I just see what they got then grab n’ go.

Bad book habit:
Starting other books while I’m still reading one.

What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Fracture, and Vengeance both by Megan Miranda. Also,  Finding It by Cora Cormack

Do you have an e-reader?
A kindle. And I’m not ashamed either. It saves me space, and money, in the long run.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
It can depend on my mood. I usually have one book on the go, with a couple others I read inbetween times.

Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Very much so! I fell heavily into the NetGalley trap, and it’s only recently that I’ve let myself relax a little. It’s tiring reading so many ARCs. I’ve also started reading a whole lot more.

Least favourite book you read this year:
Hm, probably Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire (click for ‘review’). But I have a real problem with how that book was presented to the reader.

Favourite book you’ve read this year:

Oh, I’ve read some good ones this year! I’ll have to name a few (and this list is not definitive)

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker

How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not often, which is why this summer I have embarked on a mission to change that. I even posted about it here.

What is your reading comfort zone?
Urban fantasy, paranormal romance. And I’ll happily move between YA and adult for those genres.

Can you read on the bus?
Yes. But not in the car.

Favourite place to read?
In bed :)

What’s your policy on book lending?
Go get yer own! *hugs book to chest*

Do you dogear your books?
Yes. Sometimes. If it’s a second-hand book, then no problem! If it’s brand new I can be a little precious about it.

Do you write notes in the margins of your books?
Fuck. No.

Do you break/crack the spine of your books?
No. Unless normal wear and tear does it for me.

What is your favourite language to read?
English. I could try and read something in French.. but.. it would take me all year.

What makes you love a book?
A character that makes me feel desperate to keep reading. And chemistry. There has to be a crackling energy between two characters for me to really get into it.

What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I had butterflies while reading I’ll be sure to pass on it’s name and number to my superiors ;)

Favourite genre:
Urban Fantasy

Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?):
Crime.

Favourite Biography:
I don’t read many. The last one was Russel Brand’s Booky Wook.

Have you ever read a self-help book? (And, was it actually helpful?)
I have ‘Think Like a Freak’ on my Currently Reading shelf. I’m not far enough in to really know yet.

Favourite Cookbook:
Rick Stein’s India.

Most inspirational book you’ve read this year: (fiction or non-fiction):

Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker – It made me think ‘if I’m gonna do NA, then this is what I want it to feel like’

Favourite reading snack:

I physically can’t eat and read at the same time. My body/brain won’t do it. But I could probably manage Haribo.. something that I can suck/chew for a while.

Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience:
The Hunger Games – I still can’t bring myself to read them. Too much hype.

How often do you agree with the critics about about a book?
It depends what you classify as a ‘critic’ – I like to see what my fellow bloggers have said about a book. Critics get paid to write good/bad things about a book, so I’m not really sure how far you can trust ‘em.

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I like to be honest. If a book doesn’t work, or if it was poorly written, I ain’t gonna pretend otherwise. But I will NEVER attack or flame an author personally. Ever. It’s just not done.

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Japanese! (<– Luna’s answer.. but mine too!) I’m learning.. slowly.

Most intimidating book I’ve read:
is James Joyce’s Ulysses.. I didn’t finish it. I elected to come back on another day.. :s

Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin:
The Bible.

Favourite Poet:
Seamus Heaney. Or Sylvia Plath. Depends on my mood :)

How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time?
No more than 3 at a time.. I just won’t read them else.

How often do you return books to the library unread?
I’m OCD about it. It just can’t happen for me.

Favourite fictional character:
Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter.

Demitri Belikov from Vampire Academy

Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby

Favourite fictional villain:
Lucius Malfoy! Heh heh.

Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation:
Light reads. Usually something sunny, or beach based. I like taking Shakespeare with me.. because I’m weird like that.

The longest I’ve gone without reading:
Ooh! I had a phase where I just wasn’t reading anything.. that must have been about 4 years ago. I was going months between books.. compared to hours. Lols.

Name a book you could/would not finish:
Thirteen by Tom Hoyle

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Not a lot. Unless Family Guy is on the tellybox..

Favourite film adaptation of a novel:
Lord of the Rings

or.. maybe Little Women

OH! Sense and Sensibility is good too (the one with Alan Rickman et al)

Most disappointing film adaptation:
Twilight. Kristen Stewart. ‘Nuff said.

Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time:
Not sure.. I think I spent nearly £100 once.. But I was buying for Xmas presents for peoples too.

How often do you skim a book before reading it?:
Never.

What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?:
It takes a lot for me to mark a book as DNF. It has to be making me want to slam my head into a wall, or poke my eyes out, rather than keep reading. Basically, extreme boredom is a likely contributor. Also, shoddy writing.

Do you like to keep your books organised?:
I do.. but I don’t. My book shelf is a joke!

Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read?:
I’m usually quite the hoarder. But lately I’ve been getting better at asking myself ‘will I read this again? No? Well send it to the charity shop then!’

Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding?:
Hmm. Well, there’s The Hunger Games, as mentioned above. But also 50 Shades of Gray. That book will NEVER be read by me.

Name a book that made you angry:
Beautiful Disaster by Jaime McGuire (<–Luna’s answer) Aww, really? I liked that book.. it was its sequel that made me see red and want to throw shit.

A book I didn’t expect to like but did:
Wait For You by J Lynn – I’ve had a mixed experience with this author.. but I really liked her writing for an NA audience. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

A book I expected to like but didn’t:
Incubus by Carol Goodman – it had all the components.. but it just didn’t realise its potential.

Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading:
I can usually fall back on YA and feel pretty confident that I’ll enjoy it.

__

 

Well, there you go! :)

1

Doll Bones by Holly Black – Book Talk

15944406

 

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity

I didn’t think it was fair to really call this one a ‘review’ because I just don’t feel like I have much to say.

A loooong way back along it was suggested to me by a friend that I push at my boundaries with what age categories I read. At the time I think I was having a quarter-life crisis- I thought I wanted to write for adults, literary fiction. But then I kept coming back to writing younger characters. That didn’t mean the book was then automatically, but I thought that it couldn’t hurt in experimenting a little.

So, to cut a long story short, I requested ‘Doll Bones’ from NetGalley off the back of that. It felt ‘younger’ than my usual comfort zone (older teen/YA). I’ve seen it described as ‘middle grade’ (I’m British, sooo.. not really sure where that sits for me?) and I felt like it would be on par with something like A Series of Unfortunate Events, or a darker kind of Jacqueline Wilson..

Really, I had no idea what to expect.

And whereas I think this book would be fantastic for me fifteen years ago.. I really struggled to get into it, as my 26 year old self. I think my inner child has died.. :O

Naw. It’s a cute/creepy book and I know I would have loved it, once. But I think I found my limit. Unless we’re talking Rhoald Dahl, I’m firmly in the older teen category, at least. Anything upwards of that is a go.

This book did remind me how hard growing up can be! Even without the dodgy dolls..

A new wave of children now need to be introduced to Chucky.. Heh heh.

0

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker

17571742 (1)

 

Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker (2013, Atria Books)

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

For some reason I was reluctant about this book. I saw nothing in the blurb that really popped for me and really, if I’m honest, it was the title/cover that caught my attention the most.

Well consider me well and truly told off. This book completely blew me away.

Everything about the characters and the setting and the narrative style just seemed to ‘fit’ what I like to read/write myself.

What worked for me?

Kacey – I really liked this character’s voice. Told from her POV, I was digging her attitude. I also like how her ‘issues’ weren’t thrown at you too hard. Just led in, gently, gently. And then KAPOW you’re hit at about 70% with a shocker I never saw coming.

The ‘twist’ – Is it really a twist? It’s more like a jaw dropper. A heart stopper. I was like ‘Whaaaat?’ Very clever writing because when you go back over everything you’ve just read it’s like ‘ohh, of course!’

Supporting Cast – the secondary characters were fantastic. I loved them all. And I’m excited to read the next books and learn more about them.

What didn’t work for me?

The ‘ship – I mean. I wanted the HEA. So badly. But I wasn’t entirely comfortable with how things played out. I mean, who could be? After that ‘twist’ I was in awe. I was also a little bit disgusted. And a little bit scared.. because how would they find that HEA after THAT?

 

_

 

I found this to be a refreshing and most welcome read. It’s one of those ‘at last’ books that you feel stupid for not reading earlier. I also thought that the psychological elements felt well researched and was relieved that the dream thing wasn’t pushed too hard. I hate dream sequences when they have specific ‘import’ on the plot or characters, because shit, it’s a dream!! But it was handled brilliantly here. Same for analepsis. There was just enough flashback to keep the reader clued in, but not so much that you got bored.

The chemistry between Trent and Kacey was palpable and I was almost screaming at my Kindle for them to just hurry up and get down to it!

A really compelling story. A very happy 5 out 5 from me!

1

New on my shelf – Bought, Borrowed, Received

I’ve got a SHED LOAD of books to get through, and I really want to get as much ‘for my own pleasure’ reading in before I start my Masters in September. And then it will be ‘bye bye self indulgence’ and ‘welcome back academic slog’.

But here’s what’s new for me this last couple of weeks-

From the library:

An NA book that was hidden at the back of stack of other generic chick lit titles. I’ve been meaning to read Cora Carmack for a while now, so I grabbed that one up quick-snap! And then I wandered into the YA section and gosh darn it, who wouldn’t pick those two up? Look at the covers!! *coos*

 

Purchased by me:

I’ve actually started reading the J Lynn book. I’m still not entirely comfortable with Jennifer L Armentrout’s narrative style, I think it can be clunky in places, but there is always something about her stories that keeps me coming back. As for the McGuire title, I’m giving her a chance to redeem herself (see here).

Purchased FOR me (because I have lovely people in my life):

I’ve read Oryx and Crake, so I’m eager to read the others in the series. Uh.. The corpse one? Well.. what can I say? I’m an odd bod. :D

From Bookbridgr:

I love bookbridgr. I love getting books in the post even more. I love getting the opportunity to read these titles even more than that!

 

There are a few more, but I’ve either read them already, or on the way to have read them.. and that means they’re not really ‘new’ to the shelf anymore.

Anyhow, what about you? Got anything new?